Skip To Content
Spelman College Commencement 2017

Commencement Recap 2019


Commencement Photo Gallery



Commencement Ceremony 2019

Class Day

Through Laughter and Tears, Class of 2019 Reflect During Class Day

During their Class Day service, the top class of 2019 students reflected on the trials and triumphs of their four years at Spelman. Through laughter and a few tears, they offered thoughts and wisdom from Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni and their own hearts. “We leave behind a legacy of love, tenacity and change,” said Bria Paige, C’2019, Spelman Student Government Association president. “Our time at Spelman was the catalyst for the women we will become.” In her Ivy Oration, valedictorian Ariana Benson, C’2019, challenged her classmates to rethink their goals.  “Too often, we conceptualize changing the world as a revolutionary act, as something that requires a massive movement, or major life experience, or a title,” she said. “I challenge us instead, to think of world-changing as a product of the butterfly effect. One flap of a butterfly’s wings may start a tornado. A single stone dropped in the middle of the ocean can make ripples that launch a massive tidal wave. A fleeting moment of connection can change a person’s life.”


Spelman’s Graduating Class of 2019 Charged to ‘Be Heard, Inspire Change’

Throughout Commencement weekend, Spelman’s graduating class of 2019 was reminded of their responsibility to inspire change. “As members of the Spelman sisterhood, you have a moral responsibility to use your voice to inspire positive change in your world,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms during her Commencement address Sunday. “It is ingrained in your DNA.” Mayor Bottoms spoke about the sacrifices of civil rights activists like her great aunt Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson, C’65, a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who fought against segregation throughout the south. “You are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” Sonia Sanchez, the 2019 honorary degree recipient, told the 480 graduates. “You are the ones who can change the world.” On Saturday morning Baccalaureate speaker, Alisha Lola Jones, Ph.D., encouraged the graduates to make their voices heard. “Go and shine your light,” she said. “Be attuned to your greatness. Honor your elders. Listen to others, tell your stories and make them hear you.”

For the Media

Mashaun Simon

Media Credentials Request Form


Class of 2019 Stories

Co-Salutatorian Gabrielle Price Admitted to Prestigious Medical School Two Years Early

by Allison Howard | May 19, 2019

Gabrielle Price

Gabrielle Price, C'2019, was on track to become a physician before she completed her second year at Spelman. The co-salutatorian of Spelman's 2019 graduating class earned admission to the prestigious Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan, New York, as a college sophomore through their FlexMed program, which grants early entry to high performing students.

"I hope to obtain an M.D./Ph.D. with a focus in neuroscience," said the Lexington, Kentucky native. "My ultimate goal is to conduct research on the brain and brain tumor development as a physician-scientist and teach in an academic setting."

Price made excellent academic progress during her tenure at Spelman. She completed her four-year degree in biology with a concentration in health careers a year early to begin work on a master of science degree of research in oncology at Oxford University, London. She's slated to complete her graduate coursework in June 2019.

"The academic rigor of the courses and the dedicated mentorship of the Spelman faculty have sharpened my critical thinking skills and scientific and research knowledge," said Price. "My experience at Spelman has given me the confidence to be intentional about pursuing my career goals and aspirations, and using my talent to positively impact the lives of others."

Her interest in medicine developed early. "When I was really young, I was gifted a doctor's kit," said Price. "It became my favorite toy, and I loved pretending to give health checks." "In high school, I became involved in research and have had a continuing stream of research experiences ever since. Having the opportunity to shadow one of my mentors, Dr. Rosalind Ritchie, who is an anesthesiologist, every week in high school, confirmed my interest in medicine and desire to become a physician."

During the first semester of her sophomore year at Spelman, the Ethel Waddell Githii Honors Program student and Goldwater Scholar worked as an undergraduate student researcher at the Emory University Winship Cancer Institute focusing on cell cycle control in cerebellar development and medulloblastoma, a pediatric brain tumor that arises in the cerebellum. She was also accepted into the Harvard Stem Cell Institute Internship Program (HIP) in the summer of 2017.

Start of QuoteThe cumulative effect of every professor I have had and every critical dialogue with my Spelman sisters have been instrumental and influential in my path to becoming a M.D./Ph.D. Success truly takes a village, which is evident in my development at Spelman.End of Quote